🚀 Build Profitable Directories!

Free Course. Get the Authority Advantage....🚀 & LAUNCH a profitable online agency with the web directory model.

(Try saying that title 3 times fast and it feels like getting hit on the head with a whiffle ball bat.)

This *post* is actually going to be in my upcoming book…..and I decided to post it here as a short summer case study for those of you who are still  paying attention!  (Hi Uncle Bob & Aunt Mary!)

MINI KARMIC CASE STUDY

 

 

=

Hey there –

In this short chapter (or blog post if you’re on my blog :-)I’m going to share a very simple strategy that features using 1 of the 12 content types (see this post for 11 more) I used just this last month to generate over 17 THOUSAND new visitors to a brand new site…..100% from scratch, and with 100% free traffic.

 

(no PPC, no Facebook ads, no paid ads of any kind, no Amazon publishing tricks, no traditional joint ventures (although you can argue this strategy is the ULTIMATE and best kind of joint venture 🙂 and contrary to the sort of stuff I usually describe….NO conventional email list and no other content marketing techniques as well – e.g. – no high volume article marketing or any similar strategy)

 The best part?

 This truly works in EVERY niche under the sun….it is particularly well suited for higher end marketing consultants and LOCAL online business coaches (where I am focused these days and think you should be too) who want to create high value authority sites where they live, work and play….AND build buzz for both their own brands and businesses as well as those of your clients as well.

 But….as I’m sure you can extrapolate out from reading, even if consulting or authority site creation isn’t your cup of tea…….it works really well for affiliates as well, including folks who are still building review style sites, or who make their living rating, and writing about high paying offers that compensate you for referrals.

 (something I do very little of anymore……but this particular strategy is probably the most natural fit for affiliates who still do, and in an a total ethical way to boot)

Honestly?

 I initially created this PDF as part of a process map I’m using to help my own clients GET consulting clients in their own niches or local marketplaces…..but it’s so easy to do, and has such unlimited upside for all, that I wanted to share it with my general blog audience and subscribers as well.  (and this means you 🙂

 Plus I wanted to show off this nice and shiny (and quite erroneously conceived) Cease & Desist letter I got from the management company of one of the people I identified as my ideal audience when using the simple strategy I’m about to describe,  and how I used the incredulity of actually being told to STOP saying nice things about a person in this niche….sort of motivated me to hit it harder and do MORE of it, rather than less…… just to make sure the whole world hadn’t gone miley cyrus nuts.

 (which has turned out to be a very profitable move on a number of fronts – in just a matter of a few short months)

Sound good?  This is all going to be super duper simple – no gimmicks or gurus…..just very simple, sensible REAL world strategies for making friends and influencing people, the old fashioned way.

Here are the major points we are going to quickly cover, and what i’d love to see you experiment with in your own entrepreneurial endeavors

-You are going to start writing  COMPLEMENTARY CONTENT to Piggyback off People You Probably Couldn’t Get Noticed By on Your Own

– You are going to create  an “Authority” site in your niche, market or industry and post that content on this site.

You will begin to use this site to position yourself as an expert or authority in the niche, industry or field  (could be a news site, a local magazine site, a review site for your local geographical area or in our case….a professional directory site of a YELP like nature)

-Use the  GOOGLE LIKES SITES THAT LIKE OTHER SITES GOOGLE LIKES (The DR seuss SEO strategy…..linking to other sites that google has already decided are trustworthy and relevant.  While this isn’t the focal point of this report – it’s been a HUGE help in getting our directory to the top of the natural search results for many key phrases….in literally,  under 2 months from scratch)

– You will be using a Proactive Content Creation Strategy (rather than a user generated one…..more on this to follow)

– AND…….you are going to want to let people know you’ve written about them, and then wait for them to show off & share your links.

 (meaning…….here comes the referral traffic they are going to send you for FREE)

 In short –

Create an authority site (in this case a professional directory) that we’re going to be adding our ideal audience in by hand….and then pinging the most influential people in your list to let them know we did – and then waiting for  them to share our complimentary content with their own communities.  (and piggybacking off of that to build our own)

 Make sense?

 In my SPECIFIC case……..

 Building a professional directory site of people who work in the intuitive, empathic, life advice and general fun but wacky world of new age and spiritual self help

My OBJECTIVE is:

(And I’m doing this with a few other people who are in this niche already, but this is MY personal agenda separate from the others)

  • Create an online asset that has empirical value. (so it can be sold down the road)

  1. Create an online asset that has recurring monthly income.  (e.g. – pay for placement in the directory as a regular monthly income source, affiliate ads, and or contextual ads or ad spots that can be sold to the people working in the niche right now)

  2. Create a site that gets good natural search traffic on hyper local (and national) names that work in those industries right now.

  3. Create a site that the public likes, uses and trusts to make decisions when shopping for self help, spiritual advice gurus.

  4. Be able to sell my own services to the public looking for spiritual help, advice, etc.  (just in case I decide I want to be a spiritual teacher like Eckhart Tolle with a better tan but more prone to temper tantrums)

  •  And most important of the above –
  •  Use perceived authority and expertise that emanates from owning the site to develop business (and personal) relationships with the well known “celebrity” leaders in those fields for higher end client coaching and marketing work, and future collaboration.

(and free cookies around the holidays)

Make sense?

So, our initial goal, in 3 simple steps:

 

  1. Identify a Niche.

  2. Build a directory.

  3. Get as many people to participate in our directory by any means necessary, on a bootstrap budget to boot.

My initial thought – was that the EASIEST way to do this would be to simply build it – make it look good and “real” (using inexpensive wordpress directory plugins and templates) – and then simply contact people to invite them to submit their info for free…..for a fixed period of time.

 (e.g. – we are going to be charging for this on X DATE – but because we know you and respect your work….we’d like to invite you to share your listing – your websites – your social media profiles – your rates, your bio, your whatever….all for free….by going “here”)

So –

  1.  I hired a few outsourced agents, did some market research on a few of the existing similar sites that were out there, had a list of names and email addresses collected and wrote an introductory email that was to be cut and pasted and mailed out to everyone.
  2.  I sent that email copy letter to my outsourced agents – and we were ready to begin.

 The email was super simple and said something very similar to:

 

( – “Hi there!  You are awesome.  And because you are awesome, we’d love to give you a free listing in our brand new spiritual directory of light workers and people of passion who are doing what they love for a living while waking up the world with their work…here is the link, it’s a $99 value – yours free – see you soon, and welcome again”)

 It was better written than that….but you get the drift 🙂

I had 3 people working on sending the email out for a few days……and expected, like most things I don’t get right on the first try,  a stupendous response that never arrived.

 It flat out flopped.

 Out of like 300 emails, maybe 12 or 15 people responded.

And out of those responses….about half of those needed all sorts of help understanding what we were doing, who we were, why it was free, what was the catch, and when the other shoe was going to drop.

(e.g. – when we were going to steal their money)

 About 5 people REALLY “got it” were grateful – and seeded our site with the first few listings, so that did help.

But most people ignored the email – and the offer – and because I was tracking everything with analytics….very few of those folks even checked out what we were doing at all.

 

So it didn’t work as a viable approach going forward.

 And was sort of evolved into a headache to manage and track as well.

A new plan was obviously in order 🙂

And even though I wanted this to be a USER GENERATED content project from jump (e.g. – build it  and they will come and do all of the content creation FOR us) and we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on advertising the site from day 1 – obviously the approach we were using was not going to work.

 So we needed a plan B if we were going to push forward with the project.

 Plan B was obviously to proactively ADD people to the directory by hand.

 So now, rather than invite people to add themselves – we would just skip that step, and  add them ourselves first.

 The good news?

100% participation rate on all new listings! (because we were doing the work 🙂

 

And…….

 

After less than a  week of this of this – about 90 minutes a day of effort – it immediately started to work a little bit…..especially on natural search traffic.

 (And because I know a few “tricks” (especially the “Dr Seuss SEO Strategy – Google likes sites that like other sites Google likes) AND because I have an existing network of affiliate sites in the “psychic” niche that I could use to build incoming links to the directory – I started to get immediate trickles of traffic on some pretty well sizable search phrases…straight out of the gate.  (using a creative combination of clipped, clipped, culled, collected and curated content, and internal linking, and all sorts of boring stuff I’ve covered ad nauseam in the past)

 So this was the pitter patter of progress – which was good to see.

The bad news?

  • It was more effort

  • more time intensive

  • boring as hell (I did a lot of the content creation myself, rather than outsourcing as I wanted to make sure, especially with the seeded “celebrity” names….that the content was high quality and super appealing to them when they checked it out later)

 And, on the more bad news front –

 After one week of this  –  I got my first cease and desist letter.

 Ever.

 Even when  I used to dress up like Glenn Beck for halloween and steal candy from kids just because I could get away with it, I never got a cease and desist letter.

 

So this was special.

Basically, and this perplexed me for a good 4 hours, I was “served” papers to stop saying nice things in print (or pixel) about his client.

 (a famous person in this niche who many of you know)

 (legally, he claimed to have “ownership” of her name, and has to approve any outside site that makes use of her name or includes her professional credentials, etc.

 I pity the person who has mangement who claims to “own” them in any way….but that’s not the point of this pdf)

 Guess what?

 They’re 100% wrong…..but life is too short to explain that positive press and  publicity is a GOOD thing for your clients and their business……and sending legal notices to people who describe your clients in glowing terms ain’t a smart strategy for winnings friend and influencing people, either.

 (I don’t believe she had even the slightest whiff of any of this by the way – and decided to be nice and not push it)

 The worst part.

 I was actually visiting my parents when I got this electronic notice.

 And I showed my mom.

 Who said…….don’t get yourself in trouble, please.

 Which made me feel like I was 18 again.

 So I said to my mom…….

 I’m building this directory of all of these famous (and not so famous) people and doing them a FAVOR.

 I’m helping build BUZZ for their brand.

 They are going to like me.

 They’re going to appreciate it.

 It’s good for their business.

 It’s good for MY business.

 It’s good for the public who is looking for reviews, ratings and write ups of these people…and their professions.

 We all win.   Don’t you see that?

 She didn’t seem convinced.

 She thought the cease and desist letter must mean I’m guilty.

 Of something.

 Just like the time I got caught with my face in the granola bin at the shopping bag with a  pocketful of malt balls and pineapple ju ju fruits.

 Who gets arrested on suspicion of having handfuls of hidden loose raisins and a fistful of fruity candy?

 I do.

 So my track record with authority isn’t great.

 I even started to ask myself – is this even worth it?

 What if this whole niche turns out to be a bunch of self important primadonnas with control issues who make my life miserable?

 I had already invested about 2 weeks into this project…..and nothing other than agita had arrived.

 I also knew there were 1 or 2 other players in this niche who had already built significant sized 6 (or even 7) figure businesses doing a simpler variation of what I had in mind here…….so I started to wonder if maybe I was treading on too many toes as well.

 But rather than give in…….I doubled down.

 IF for no other reason…just to prove to myself that it was a good idea for all.

So as week 3 began, we made a list of the top 50 people in the country…..and started adding them to  the directory, one by one.

 Brick by brick…..bird by bird.

On the 3rd day of doing this (all by myself, by the way) I came home one day and saw a deluge of new traffic in my Getclicky analytics dashboard.

It was all coming from Facebook.

I followed the link…….and immediately saw one of the famous people in the field had thanked us on his Facebook page for “adding”  and reviewing him on our directory.

 I knew it!  Eureka!

 It was sort of like the feeling of when i won my first poetry writing content in 10th grade, without the embarrassing home room announcement.

 You know good things are coming – you just don’t know how good and how fast.

 Within a few hours – his listing on our directory had over 100 “likes”

 There were probably 500 new visitors…many of whom were now navigating the site, checking out the other people we had added and visiting THEIR sites as well.  (e.g. – because we were linking to their sites, they were following these links to outside sites)

 And so on that day…..it began.

 Not to overstate that first flag in the field so to speak…..but in the 30 or 45 days that have followed (as I write this in August) a super simple (and really predictable) process map has evolved that works wonderfully well………that has led to a consistent daily flow of visitors from a myriad of mentions, social media, search traffic and a whole bunch more.

 But before I share that – the importance of ONE simple piece of social proof – so easy to earn – has had such wide ranging ancillary benefits.

 In essense,  1 simple social media “mention” turned on the “butterfly effect” and really reverberated in many positive ways for days to come.

 

1 – Traffic!  We needed a burst of traffic and we got the first wave from this.

 2 – Validation!  If someone important says you’re sort of important – especially on social media where birds of a feather flock together…..you’ve earned some immediate trust that you can use to enhance your own influence

 2 – Pageviews!  I can use (and now have:-) the traffic  to “sell” inclusion in the directory to our next batch of invites.  (e.g. – I can now say – we are getting xzy amount of visits a day to our directory – don’t miss out by NOT being included when people in your area are browsing for someone just like YOU)

 3 – Curiosity!   Other anal retentive spiritual coaches and/or their management companies are now seeing traffic emanating to THEIR  sites from ours – and they began visiting us to see what we were, who we were, and why we were driving people  to their sites and services & how further we may be able to help.

 4 – RELATIONSHIPS!  (internet famous, baby!)

 Most importantly I have started to develop relationships with influential people in this particular field – many who charge hundreds of dollars or more to communicate with the public – i now have some level of access to for free.

As a matter of fact….that first person to post the “thank you” on his Facebook page…..actually followed up with an email thank you as well, (addressed to the pen name we had set up) – I then responded and introduced myself as a web developer and writer with an interest in the niche – shared some personal and professional thoughts and ideas – and we’ve exchanged a number of emails since of a friendly nature.

Since then – and using the super simple 4 or 5 step process map i’ve outlined for you below – I’ve been either contacted directly via social media or email – thanked or invited to events by no less than 10 well known people authors and entrepreneurs in this industry – with TV shows – radio programs – large audiences -or high profile positions in the field.

More importantly, many of the people who follow those people – have followed us on Twitter, joined our community and have filled out a marketing survey for spiritual professionals, authors and “enlightened entrepreneurs” looking to build buzz for their brands.

 (my real goal has always been to get new clients in this industry)

The process map for us has been super simple and streamlined.

  1.  Create an authority site in the niche that you want to own or influence. (a directory style site is a great way of doing this very quickly – but there are many ways to do this with web apps, or hyper targeted templates that focus on a specific style site – e.g. – niche news/jobs/local classifieds/etc – especially if you are using this strategy to grow a marketing consulting biz in your local community)
  2. Add someone new to the directory everyday.

  3. Add a BLOG post announcing that someone new has been added to the directory.  (the blog post links to the directory listing – which has been really good for on site SEO)

  4. Update our Facebook page with the new person.

  5. Let the person know on Twitter (and Facebook) that they’ve been added to the directory.

  6. Update other social media satellite blogs (like Tumblr, etc for extra traffic, blog buzz and incoming links)

What I’ve found is that

 About 60% + of the people we added to the directory and then TOLD (proactively) they had been added – either retweeted, reached out, visited the directory, posted on their Facebook page, or otherwise shared the love.

 Their fans and followers started to follow us as well.

I’ve also found that –

The very TOP tier “A List” types are the least likely to respond or reply – but they WILL check out what you said about them, often…..more frequently than once!

(one of the advantages of using analytics – and while I can’t be 100% sure it’s her and not management or staff, I’ve had one well known reality TV star check her listing on our site just about every day now for a month……which I find endlessly entertaining to watch)

The more people LINK to their listings on YOUR site (and trust me when I tell you, the famous people have legions of fans who will re-tweet, re-post and reblog their favorite spiritual celebrities stuff) the better natural traffic you’ll get from the search engines as well.

(we now OUTRANK (#1) one of the most famous people in this field for HIS name – his listing on our directory is above his own static site – and I expect, as we continue to grow and update and evolve this idea, this will become more commonplace for many of the smaller “teachers” in this field)

The truth is –

It’s all very simple stuff – all free traffic – and just one of a zillion things you can do to build the appearance of authority in a niche, very quickly.

(and why BUILDING something – rather than always selling something – is the perennially most powerful, profitable and perpetually practical way to creating long term value in your business to boot)

This works wonderfully well for local consultants, coaches, for review sites (obviously this is a great fit) for directory sites, for local marketing blog consultants,  just remember…….complimentary content is key.

 

  1. Find people in your niche, market or industry that you like and respect – and tell people why.

  2. Then tell THEM that you did.

  3. Wait for them to promote the content you wrote about THEM.

  4. Have an idea, or an offer or a way to convert a percentage of those visitors into regular members or YOUR community, clients and cash.

For example – if you are a health, yoga or nutritional nut and MARKETING coach (e.g. – you want to help other yoga coaches make money) you could apply the same principle above to target your ideal audience, win influence, and create new clients…..literally out of thin air.

 (The not so secret, secret is………a significant percentage of EVERY professional niche will always need help in areas that you have more expertise, knowledge and know how than they – even if you don’t think you know enough right now.  PERIOD)

 If you want to be a generic marketing consultant in your local community (a GREAT, fun and EASY business by the way) you could create a general business directory where you live, or a news style site, a job board, and so forth….and use the very same strategy to add listings, win clients and position yourself as THE local online expert as well.

 In closing……YES, it is partially true.

 Content really IS king.

 But it matters how good, how creative and how compelling your content IS if that law actually applies to you, your business and your success.

 Want to know the truth?

 There are LOTS of bad cliches about creating content that converts out there….and I’m probably guilty of throwing around my fair as well.

 But the REAL fact is – writing “Epic Sh*t” is really over-rated.  (and I hate to break it to those of us who think we’re doing it…….really rare as well)

 It’s much easier to write good, flattering and “feel good” content about people who you like, admire,  respect and want to attract into your professional life…..than it is to stare at a blinking blank screen trying to say pound out something powerful people will remember forever.

 Trust me – they don’t.  And won’t.

 Unless……

 What you write is about them!  🙂

 I remember when I first got started in this business – I heard one of the preeminent copywriters of the time say the ONLY way to get 100% of the people to read your salesletter 100% of the time is to make what you write about THEM.

 Because that is the best converting content there is.

Use THAT concept to grow your blog, brand and business….and you’ll be amazed at just how easy it is to get eyeballs in front of ANYTHING you’ve got to offer the world.

Ian

 “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
– Goethe

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I am an author, artist and entrepreneur. My 2 passions are writing about, and teaching Marketing and Meditation. I like to think I’m a lot like Eckhart Tolle, if only he was taller, and a much better tennis player. (it turns out in person, he’s super short, has a terrible backhand and wears this weird scottish hat thingy that makes it really difficult to concentrate while serving) Plus he refuses to keep score and says ” it’s always NOW” when you ask who is up. Enough about me. We barely know each other. Stop staring. You’re making me nervous.